4 Things to Do Before You Make Your First Student Loan Payment

Loan Payment ScheduleOne perk of having a federal student loan instead of a private student loan is that you are not required to start making payments right away. In fact, many federal student loans have a grace period*, or a set amount of time after you graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment before you must begin repaying your student loans. For most student loans, the grace period is 6 months but in some instances, the grace period could be longer. The grace period gives you time to get financially settled and to select your repayment plan.

If you graduated within the last few months, your grace period may almost be over and you will probably be contacted by your loan servicer, letting you know how the repayment process will work.

Here are four things you should do now, before your first student loan payment is due:

1. Get Organized

Start by tracking down all of your student loans. Did you know that there is a website that allows you to view all your federal student loans in one place?

You can log into http://www.nslds.ed.gov/ using your Federal Student Aid PIN to view your loan balances, information about your loan servicer(s), and more.

Note: Don’t forget to check your personal records to see if you have private student loans. 

2. Contact Your Loan Servicer

Your loan servicer is the company that will be collecting payments on your federal student loan on behalf of the U.S. Department of Education. They are also there to provide support. Your loan servicer can help you choose a repayment plan, understand loan consolidation, and complete other tasks related to your federal student loan, so it’s important to maintain contact with your loan servicer. If your circumstances change at any time during your repayment period, your loan servicer will be able to help.

To find out who your loan servicer is, visit nslds.ed.gov. You may have more than one loan servicer, so it is important that you look at each loan individually.

3. Estimate Your Monthly Payments Under Different Repayment Plans

Federal Student Aid recently launched a Repayment Estimator that allows you to compare our different repayment plans side by side. Once you log in, the repayment estimator pulls in information about your federal student loans, such as your loan balance and your interest rates, and allows you to estimate what your monthly payment would be under each of our different repayment plans. It also allows you to compare the total amount you will pay for your loan over time depending on the repayment option you choose. Try it!

4. Select The Repayment Plan That Works For You

Some of the greatest benefits of federal student loans are their flexible repayment options. Take advantage of them! Although you may select or be assigned a repayment plan when you first begin repaying your student loan, you can change repayment plans at any time. There are options to tie your monthly payments to your income and even ways you can have your loans forgiven if you are a teacher or employed in certain public service jobs. Once you have determined which repayment plan is right for you, you must contact your loan servicer to officially change your repayment plan.

* Not all federal student loans have a grace period. Note that for many loans, interest will accrue during your grace period.

Nicole Callahan is a new media analyst at the Department of Education’s office of Federal Student Aid.


  1. Here’s a thought, if you can’t afford college, don’t go! Or go to a community college instead and get your pre-reqs out of the way for less than what a 4 year school will charge you. Everyone’s complaining that they can’t handle their student loans, how will people handle mortgages that last for 20-30 years?

  2. WOW! After reading all of these comments, it is clear most people do not agree with the over priced student loan option offered by our educational system. It is also clear that some people suffer from classism, and are selfish individuals. Student loans are clear a formm of economic slavery that benefits the lender and the government. Why else would the government buy these loans?! Unfortunately a lot of us are sold “the American dream”, and never wake up to live it. America is the land of illusions and unless we the people wake up, most of us will forever be caught up in this new form of economic slavery. Rather it is student loan debt, mortage debt, car financed debt, credit debt, or any other cycle that feeds a sense of false entitlement and success. Wake up and take action! We can change our law systems, education systems, health care system, and our living system-if we as a whole take action!

    • I totally agree with Keisha , when are we (Americans) going to stand up or wake up for what we really believe in, freedom, financial freedom, and live the real American dream. What about are federal debt ceiling we’re about to relive again, our own federal Gov. can’t even agree on how to solve our/their continuous spending of hardworking Americans tax dollars. Every American is entitled to a higher education if they truly want it and not finically suffer tiring to satisfy a student loan. It’s going to take a real shake up in DC to get America out of debt and on top again. Now even third world countries thumb their nose at the land of the free and in debt. Yes as a whole we can make a change if really want it; but we need to do it as a whole!

  3. I would never recommend my children get student loans. I went back to school to try and help my family out of poverty. I took out one small student loan. The bank sold the loan back to the government in my second semester, which means it is due now. I could have fought it, but with payments due NOW, three children, a husband, and many more responsibilities I gave up went to work (minimum wage at a factory) to make the payments. I later found out this bank does it all the time. Then when I was told it was paid off, Ten years later they came back wanting $5000. more. It seems there was around $35 left and it accrued interest for years! That is paid of now. But I amm 53 years old raising grandchildren and more responsibility at home.

  4. It took me 7 years of going to college 6-9 unit at a time, at night, to graduate. My mom, mother-in-law and husband babysat. I worked three years at a Catholic elem. school, taking ed classes so I could get a public school credential. The nuns and
    teachers were hardworking and dedicated, and I thank them for all of their good
    examples. My sister-in-law babysat for my three children on Friday nights and Saturdays. If you have a goal, and work toward it a little at a time, you will get
    there, and will have learned many valuable lessons, too. Imperial Valley, CA

  5. The first thing you should do is determine if your major will give you a good chance at getting a job. If not, then change your major. Then do a good job in it, and graduate with good grades. Then get a job. Then pay off your loan. That’s what I did.

    • Simple advice, but so true. I came from a sheltered, ignorant immigrant family and didn’t discover many important things like this until it was too late. Now I’m mid 30s, over-educated, unemployed, with tons of loans, struggling every day, and wishing desperately there had been some kind of program at my school to find the kids who didn’t know better and teach them this important basic life/education information. Hindsight is 20/20…

    • What year did this all happen? Kids today do work hard, get good grades, graduate with honors and still can’t get a job! My daughter went to a top notch school, great grades, and found that the economy couldn’t support the number of graduates. Now with a Masters degree, working part time AND paying rent and her school loan, is looking at more school to get a PhD in order to get a decent job.

  6. Really? Young people today go to college and have no idea what they want to do! The local college now has a class on how to balance a checkbook! No wonder their debt pikles up so quickly. I was always taught that if you can’t afford it, find a plan B. Would it be right of me to go out and buy a $100,000 car KNOWING I’ll never pay it back??
    Shame on those who roll their food money, book money and life’s little incidentals into their loans-DUH! They have no idea what it’ll cost them in the end.
    I did it by working during the day and carrying 12 CREDITS AT NIGHT!
    Life is not a given-it’s a 24 hour a day adjustment………….

    • You sound like the kind of graduate I’d love to hire. One with some drive and common sense.
      Those with a huge debt, and little work experience are a big risk for an employer in my book.
      Good luck to you; but then again, you won’t need it, you’ll make your own luck.

      • Maybe _that’s_ why I can’t get a job! Too many mistakes when I was young, and even though now I am as responsible as possible given my past mistakes, I just can’t get an interview! It’s sad, but you can’t put “later acquired drive and common sense” on your resume.

        • Work is about solving problems. If you’ve solved earlier problems, you might try highlighting this on your résumé in a way that relates to work. Good luck and don’t give up.

    • The up-and-coming generation NEEDS check balancing classes because nobody had the nerve to teach us what to do. We roll everything we can into our debt because we’re left with nothing but confusion and frustration because we’re being expected to choose what we want to do for the rest of our lives immediately. We’re expected to take a risk for this, and if we decide we don’t like it, we can’t go back. If we don’t go to college we’re called lazy and careless. If we man up and decide to put ourselves in debt so we can do what we want we’re criticized by those like you who bring up their own life experiences and think they can apply to us. Not everything can be taken as a night class, and not every college-bound student deserves your shameful comments. Educate yourself further before passing judgement.

      • I agree with you. My husband and I are still approx 100K in debt because of Loans to send our Kids to College. To make it worse,they were all in College at the same time.

        And that was just for a first degree, because after they went for Professional degrees, they had to borrow on their own. So they are , all 3, still paying back the loans they took in their name. But it was worth it. One Cardiologist, One Vascular Surgeon and one Attorney at Law now 8 years later. I would like to see someone try to do a Medical Degree with all it entails at night school. So yes, there are some degrees that can be done piecemeal and great for those who have the ability to do that. Even better for those who worked and planned while doing it. But if my husband and I had not bitten the bullet and borrowed to pay the 3 kids college fees , we would have had 3 unhappy, non productive people mooching off of us right now. In another few years, their combined incomes will wipe all debts away and we will all be happy. All my kids worked for their living expenses, sometimes 2 jobs while holding down full time hours at College. So having a Student Loan debt is NOT a function of laziness, lack of planning as some people are trying to suggest. The last one graduated in 2010 and was barred n 2011. So we all know there is a bit of time to wait until the big bucks come rolling in. But when they do, every moment of the struggle will have been worth it.
        Bottom line: Whatever you want, be prepared to pay for it. OR, get really spiritual and get it for free. But the cost is getting spiritual…

        • Wah Wah, my kids are doctors and lawyers who will in the next 10-15 years make $175-250k a year once they have some time in their respective jobs. They will be part of the 1%.

    • Thanks Captain Hindsight, but that doesn’t change the millions of us already out in the world with debt because our high school counselors, parents, and university officials told us it would be fine. How are 18-year olds who haven’t been out in the world supposed to understand the impact of financial decisions like loans if their main support group was pushing them?

      • I couldn’t agree with you more re advice from people who should have known better! I still think of my college financial aid advisor with great frustration and disappointment. What he advised me (private loans) was the worst, most horrible thing to tell a kid!

  7. One solution to the so called “student loan bubble” would be for the Federal Government to make all student loan PAYMENTS (not just interest) tax credits (not just tax deductions). This would have the same net effect on indebted students as “loan forgiveness” while still promoting individual responsibility as this would only benefit students who are making payments on their loans.

      • Well, studies have shown that it costs as much to incarcerate someone in prison as it does to send someone to college so…

        We never seem to run out of enough money to incarcerate people or kill our enemies. Maybe we sould find a way to educate more kids before they go to prison instead. Maybe then, people will not have to rob somebody to get free healthcare and a free education.

        Maybe when we have all of these college graduates with degrees that an extreme capitalist has deemed worthless like philosophy and art, maybe they can find a way to world peace instead of spending trillions on war.

        You ask to what limit? I say we should provide free education to every American man, woman and child until they can truly maximize their potential. Maybe all of these newly educated citizens could get to work modernizing our infastructure, finding a cure for our ailing planet and learning how to help developing countries maximize their resources so that that can become prosperous democracies themselves.

        • Prosperous democracy is an oxymoron. Try googling “democracy vs republic”
          Just thought you would be surprised to learn that democracy has always resulted in tyrany by majority. I was!

    • I second that and if you income level gets too high you can’t even deduct student loan interest. I am still paying on my student loans that I had to take to get my college education because I was a single parent who could not get child support, so I had to do the loans to get my education. It was so very worth it to get my education but I would have to think twice if I was a young person starting out to avoid student loans at all cost because they never ever go away. I would love it if they would make them a tax credit since it would give people incentive to finish school. Congress wastes more money then I will ever see and we pay plenty of taxes so why not give us a real break, not just the earned income credit generation.

  8. I went to school also, and I have a disability. I have student loans that are approaching $50,000, which I know I’ll be attempting to pay back the rest of my life. However, whenever I go to find work, most prospective employers look at me and use my bad credit history(mostly medical & student loans), my low-level felony conviction from 17 years ago, and the fact that I’m over 50, & they say, ‘we’ve give you a call'(never do) or, ‘we’ve found someone more qualified’ – code for ‘we don’t hire people in the above categories’. Basically I got loans to survive & put off sleeping in the streets – using the money to pay rent, food, bus tickets to go to school, etc……now I’m homeless and looking for work.

    • We need to stop this foolishness of looking at Credit History before hiring.

      It is a violation of privacy and a way of discriminating against people. Many bad credit histories are due to illnesses, lay offs etc. But these holier than thou economists don’t care about what really happened. Real way to distance yourself from people, just use a computer to evaluate them.

      Have you tried getting a grant to cover those bills?

      • A credit history reflects how a person follows through on the promises they make. Many people encounter adversity in life, but responsible people address the problems on their credit report. Consumers are permitted to make statements on their reports.

    • Homeless, looking for work, but writing responses to student loan programs on the internet……..HOW?? And has issues with using a persons life history of bad credit and felony conviction as a determining factor for employment……what WOULD you use? Todays conviction that tomorrow is another day? Seriously……..

  9. Go to a school you can afford. Education is available but we want what we want. Can’t always have exactly what you want. Fimd a small school. and a major with a future.

    • Must be nice to be able to afford ANY college Paul! As a divorced and older woman with kids still home there isn’t a college anywhere that I could afford. I have no future without this education except poverty working for a Walmart or the like. Education should be affordable for everyone who really wants to go, not just the well off. When I graduate I will have tons of money to repay, and that thought scares the joy of my accomplishment right out of me.

      • Learn to program; become an RN; engineer; accountant; stay way from degrees that you cannot get a guaranteed job after (history, philosophy, most liberal arts degrees) unless you plan to get education beyond a Bachelor’s degree. I have been paying on my loans since I graduated in 2000. I graduated in 1997 with an English degree – soley paid for with student loans. I graduated again in 2000 with any Bachelor’s in MIS. I learned COBOL in college and that helped me get my first job. I also had to move to get all of my jobs. I went to school in CO – but ended up in WA state, OR, then down to TX, then to AZ.

        • Since when, (1980’s) if you are an RN or an accountant , can you get a job after college. I am an RN with 25 yrs of experience, no one wants me unless I have a bachelors degree, which is at least a 25-35,000 dollar commitment. I could not stay working as a nurse, unless I went back to school. So here you have a nurse with 25 yrs of work experience but can’t get hired because she doesn’t have the right education. Now that in turn means either she goes back to school and will have to pay student loans off until the day she dies, or she help send her kids to college, you can’ t do both. How can I help my son pay for college, if I pay 600 bucks a month for school loans for myself. There is no nursing shortage by the way, just that they only want to hire bachelor educated nurses.

          • that’s precisely why you can’t give everyone free education — look at the long term employees like you who have to compete with new graduates who don’t have a 100th of the experience. Not to mention the hospitals can be picky, cut hours to new and old hires AND keep the pay the same despite 2-4% cost of living increases every single year.

            If everyone had a bachelor’s degree, who would scrub toilets? Degrees used to set you apart, because they took work, they took dedication, they took EFFORT.

    • Unless you have been there please don’t say that, I was a single parent who could not get child support because he always switched jobs. I went to the school that gave me the most help and had to use the student loan money to pay my expenses because I didn’t have the income while in school. I will say I went to Stevenson Unversity and they were great, I got a job on campus that allowed me to work around my class schedule but I still had to pay for daycare and other expense so it was not a matter of find a less expensive school as you put it. If you have to balance putting food on the table and going to school which one is going to win.

  10. So forget about college and get training in a trade. Electricians and plumbers make good money, and often have an easier time finding work.

    • Real easy to say, where do you get the training, apprenticeship programs are very hard to find and get into. But if you do get into one how do you pay your bills while doing that. My nephew went to a community college for his HVAC training, but guess what he still had to pay tutition. So please don’t comment on this unless you have a solution. We do not have enough apprenticeship programs and the average age of a jouneryman level in this country is in their 50s, so what happens when these people are all gone, who is going to train our kids.

  11. I went to everest college and I regret it moved than anything I graduated as a medical assistance and I have a year n they haven’t helped me find a job I even had to find a job at a clothing company the worst thing is that I got laid off and I have two loans to pay a genius is loaln and the Sallie`s loan.

    • I can totally agree. I went to Westwood and have not been able to find employment in my field and now I’m in a different state making only $7.25. Not even enough to live on. So these people lie in order to make money off the students. It does not help that our Government is sending our Jobs over sea’s.

    • @wendy martinez I suspect your college education is not the reason you have had trouble finding a job. You could learn how to write, spell and express yourself properly and then you might stand a chance. Look inward and stop blaming your college.

      • I agree with you Elizabeth. I also went to Everest University and I have nothing but wonderful things to say about the way they take care of their students after graduation. 6 months later I am still getting phone calls making sure I don’t need their help with anything else in life. They helped me find a job, and although it may not be exactly what I wanted, I’m still using my degree and have a job that I really do love. Maybe you should get a hold of the University and see if the career services team can assist you in finding a job.

  12. Student loans are the new form of indentured servants. We become slaves to those we owe. The government screws up everything it touches, but this looks very intentional. Nothing better for an over reaching government than to entrap whole generations of the nations best and brightest as indentured servants, as slaves. The ludicrous cost for college education, required to obtain any good government job, is becoming an indentured servant to the State to obtain that job. Brilliant.

    • It’s not the government that you were in debt to, these were private bank loans the government just took over and paid to the banks. That is why you now owe the government. Problem is exactly as others here have stated. The cost of an education for the lower and middle class is an extra tax that no one else has to pay. The wealthy and the very poor are not saddled with these debts only us in the middle. It is hard to achieve the American dream as an indentured servant. Student loans at the very least should be interest free.

  13. Here is the deal. This is the very same debacle that the housing bubble was, only worse. Worse because the student loan debt follows…forever, unlike a homeowner who may actually claim bankruptcy, the banksters made this impossible for students. Clearly, the social contract that was once in place is absolutely NOT in existence any longer, although we sell our youth on it lock, stock and barrel; they have been lied to. Your education along with ninety seven other feats of achievement and a loan will not guarantee you anything but debt. Make no mistake. Those like myself who went to college in the seventies could work their way through. This is no longer a remote possibility, IT CAN’T BE DONE. So anyone over 50 who challenges our youth to do this is either completely out of touch or desires to obscure the fact that the fault is squarely on the shoulders of our generation, baby boomers. Baby boomers will be a legion of elderly who have disenfranchised our children’s futures as well as future generations. Worse yet, universities increase tuition ridiculous percentiles every year. Meanwhile, we can’t pretend that education is better because of the increase price tag. In fact, it has proven itself to be worse on many levels. Students who aspire to go to college, are encouraged to engage in this magical thinking that will put them into a job market where unemployment in the real world is on average about 25% and in some areas, closer to forty. Someone along the way could speak some truth, of course this would involve the forgiveness of these loans, which are often tied up in the securities that Fan and Fred were already bailed out about…yes you have a loan, surely you owe something, but to whom? Have those investors taken a loss or are they still being paid? Just who owes what to whom? I think our children are owed an explanation, apology and loan forgiveness! Especially because the caliber of education they pay so dearly for is NOT even close to the ones we received 30, 40 and 50 years ago. Forgiveness is the only reasonable strategy here, greed is a destructive sickness. Healing our country will involve forgiveness, and will not involve banksters.

    • You borrowed!! Why should that be forgiven? You read and understood the terms of the loan agreement and SIGNED on before you received the first dollar. Now you cry foul! This is exactly whats wrong with America today, the whole I’m owed something mentality…

      • And so did everyone who has ever received a credit card, mortgage, car loan, or any other kind of loan. People take on debt for a variety of reasons. Your implication that people are totally free to choose debt or live without it is technically true but disingenuous. When consumer debts go belly-up, creditors will often settle for pennies on the dollar, or they may be discharged under a bankruptcy proceeding. Student loans, on the other hand, can only be forgiven or discharged under an extremely narrow set of circumstances.


        You call for personal responsibility and lament our entitlement complex. And that’s admirable. Unfortunately, it’s overly simplistic and doesn’t address the desperate state of higher education in this country. Young people are caught between the necessity of a college education if they wish to be at all competitive in the workforce and the reality of ballooning education costs. I don’t think we’re quite at the level of predatory lending reminiscent of the housing boom/bust, but this is a conversation that needs to be had. “You will have to pay all this back in a few years or incur our wrath” doesn’t mean much when the alternative is “you’re virtually guaranteed never to make a living wage,” and parents, teachers, and peers are extolling the importance of higher education. Add to that the vision prospective students are sold of a wide-open field of opportunities for those who wield a college diploma, and then contrast it with the rude awakening of falling real wages, rampant underemployment, and fewer entry-level opportunities due to a whole range of factors that I won’t list because they’ve been tirelessly rehashed in the news for years now. With a little empathy, you might begin to understand a vague sense of betrayal among student borrowers.

        • Absolutely right, Adam. The choices for kids are ridiculous, and to chide them for being upset about how these student loans are collected or the consequences if they can’t be paid, is to deliberately turn your back (Laura) on the reality of the situation. Yes, they signed and accepted the money, but that was based on promises by others that could never be fulfilled (like a Ponzi scheme, to my mind) that these students could either not know about, be aware of, or have any control over. It seems reasonable to me, that if you must borrow money to go to school, you should repay that. However, I don’t think it reasonable to charge students ANY interest on these loans. The outrageous costs of college, on the other hand is another conversation, as is giving kids ACTUAL GUIDANCE on choosing schools, majors, and career paths, or other avenues that they might choose.

          • I 2nd this, I am still paying on my student loans after graduating in 1995 and it seems like they never get lower and because I already consolidated I can’t get my interest rate lowered from the 10% I am paying, so no one wants to not pay the loans back but its a crazy system and now government wants to charge us more on our loans. Please they waste more money than I will ever see and isn’t it better to have an educated and productive society than one that says why bother, I can’t afford it.

  14. Peggy- the difference is these doctors sometimes spend hundreds of thousands on tuition for upper tier and Ivy League medical school and your family went to Apollo college or something like that. The other difference is the doctors that spend that much are at the top of there field and make about 20 times what a nurse would make. I thought that was obvious but appearently it needed to be said for the slow people.

  15. Start young. Just like you teach your child to walk and talk, then teach them math. You know they will need it for the future. No worthy degree is obtainable without in-depth mathematics. Also, teach them young and have them “place out” of the many college courses with AP classes while in high school. This will save a LOT of money and time.

  16. Try being told at age 18 you don’t qualify for a military career but do qualify for disability. Then when you apply for disability you are told “oh you have disabilities but potential as well”. Three years laters (age 21) you get tired of working two jobs and never being independent so you go to college to “better yourself”. You are told if you go to college and are willing to live on campus you will get one free meal a day and free tuition. The college lies and never has room for you. Even though you beg plead and try no one will listen to you about a learning disorder (ADHD) and so you wind up flunking half your classes and then have to pay to retake them. Finally out of pure frustration, hatred, and sick of being lied too by your state vocational rehabilitation counselor and your college you threaten to quit your senior year and just draw disability. So instead the college becomes all nice and tells you they are gonna graduate you with less than a 48 hr notice b/c the college figures out the state won’t pay them to babysit you. So now having a college degree you can’t get disability but because of your disabilities your not allowed to utilize your college degree. Its a screwed up society and each younger generation is getting more screwed then the previous one.

    • I so agree. I have loans out from 2 seperate stints at college..Finally after medical deferrment on one set, I was able to get my BA..problem? I need a MA to do the same job as before. Now my student loans are in default because they say no notification of my financial hardship, even though they knew I wass perm. Disabled…not working for over a year and trying to finish my grad school requirements. I’m so screwed. Can’t get hired without MA and can’t go back to grad school..no $ with no job and I have 2 kids to support. Nobody wants to hear about Disability Reform…just Immigration Reform. What are we to do?

      • It’s amazing how the requirements for certain positions have upped. It used to be that you needed a college degree. Now you need a master’s. I for one can never seem to catch up!

  17. I am a physician still paying back a 6 figure school loan. During med school the loan repayment program my brother was lucky enough to get was not available during my training and after residency the available job options paid so little I couldn’t live. I consolidated my loans finally, and I sent my daughter to an American school with a campus in a Caribbean country so she could have an undergrad education with no debt while I pay for her (and my loans) as she never qualifies for money based on my income. My goal in life is to pay off my debt before I retire. The debt these young doctors carry are even more substantial than mine and I feel for them. I am happy I became a physician — but oh the price I paid!

  18. Jennifer,
    Do you know what type of repayment option we select when we consolidate with direct loans? There are several options from $300/mo for 10 yrs to $150/mo for 20 yrs-can I pick the least payment option?
    What if I go back to school, do they forgive those loans as well?

  19. Boo Hoo…Boo hoo…All I hear is people complaining about their loans and who gets Grants and who don’t get grants….

    For MANY years rich kids were able to go to school and the middle class and poor kids could not afford to go to college….

    That’s why you have Grants and scholarships so the plane can even out….

    All who wants to go to school can…the key NOW, is choosing the right MAJOR that’s going to pay off in the long run….

    There are many poor working class people who are “Working their butts off” to provide for their families….They are working hard while their boss are making all the profits….

    The boss is paying “As little ” as possible to their workers for a bigger profits for his family…So why is the boss complaining that he has to PAY for his kids education when he has pocketed all the “profits” from his workers who have deserving kids that wants to go to school?
    The rich are complaining because AGAIN, they don’t want to pay for their kids education. They want to keep all their profits to themselves and want the Government to pay for their kids education when they have the money to do so! They would rather spend their money on yachts, building their investments, other homes and expensive vacations than their already “privilege” children education.

    Grants and scholarships are for people who qualify and deserve to go to school…

    • Im the daughter of a middle class family, was valedictorian with high SAT scores, class president, soccer mvp and Captain, president of the national Honor Society and editor of the school newspaper and I got NO GRANTS OR SCHOLARSHIPS from the colleges I applied to. Why? Because they said that my parents could manage it. Yet some of my peers with lesser grades, scores and accomplishments got full rides because their parents were low income. The system is messed up. I’m proof of that and now I have loans to pay for the next 10 years & that’s at in state tuition.

      • “I go NO GRANTS OR SCHOLARSHIPS from the colleges I applied to.” Yes, your parents have to make little to no income to qualify for grants. Scholarships however don’t have anything to do with your parents income. Scholarships are solely based off what you have done in your academically and extracurricular activities. You not being able to attain scholarships is from you and your parents lack of being resourceful. My mother made to much money for me to received grants and I didn’t do well enough in school to attain scholarships. My sister graduated Summa Claude above 4.0 GPA. She wanted to go to a private school that’s tuition was 40,000$ a year. Everyone told her she wouldn’t be able to do it financially. Unlike yourself your resourceful butt search and found innumerable amount of scholarships she would qualify for because of her illustrious grades. Not only did she not reach her goal for tuition she surpassed it. Hopefully you can instill your children weren’t your parents weren’t able to. Until than stop complaining shut up and do what you need to. SMDH

        • About scholarships, my daughter attended a magnet school for art, also took their other AP course, so took extra classes for 4 years. She was the top performing student academically in her program, as well at the top awarded artist based on number of awards won in the county. She did get a partial scholarship, but those who did not do as well as she did artistically or academically got full rides. Why? We are not well off. It is because she is white. She never qualified for a full ride because of her race. That is blatantly unfair.

      • Sorry Bri…but thsts what they’re for. You are bleseed with money and therefore let the grants and scholarships alone..for those well deserved kids who may not be the all american glory girl..maybe their3.0 was their best and not their fault moms doesn’t have a privledged life. Affirmative Action must also be your biggest nightmare? Stop whining enough to thank god for your blessings.

      • I am a 55 year old low income college student, I support my 22 year old daughter and my grandson, so I must work full time and go to school full time.I get a 2300.00 grant per semester. That’s not much. I also have to take out loans like crazy. Scholarships? lol. Stop crying, the low income are way worse off than you!

        • You all need to stop whining too. Maybe her parents don’t want to support her, or have supported 3 other children before her. Just because she was raised in better off home, doesn’t mean she has the economic means for college. She isn’t the bread winner in her family, her parents are.

          I’m the daughter of a middle class single mother and I still owe 60,000 dollars, and that’s LOW compared to some of my classmates. I received only federal loans, and a merit based scholarship through the school.

      • I had high grades and went to an Ivy school. My parents were also “able to manage.” I still got plenty of scholarships and grants, Brianna….because it has to do with a combo of factors such as how you do in the scholarship interview, how you write your scholarship application essay, etc. Don’t blame the system or other students for your failure to get any of the select few scholarships.

    • Back in the 60’s, there were no Federal Loans; we paid for our own college education with scholarships, work programs, working at school or in the town which the college was located, summer jobs(saving all one could), had no cars on campus: yet many attended college, graduated and pleased that we did. I had a banker friend who loaned me the money for my last 2 years, which I gladly repaid. Stop whinning and used the time to determine your course of action, then study to make the grades to graduate. College Education is a privilege not a right. There are far too many who are in college, taking 6 plus years to get out which did not happen in my days.

      • Education is not a privilege or a right. Also, check out the cost of tuition and living (even with COA) back in the 60’s.
        Companies used to train people for many jobs and held on to those willing to work hard.
        Things have changed a lot. You must come to them trained, and they can fire you when they feel like it.
        The economy is more global also.
        There are many factors, and it is stupid to deny the experience of thousands of young people crushed by a problematic society as if they simply aren’t as great as the previous generation.
        This is what the wealthy and powerful want. To make the poor believe that if they would only work HARDER and HARDER! they’d make it. This cult of money and work is so unsatisfying to the human soul, and is a complex form of slavery. Haven’t all slaves of the past been bamboozled by their overlords one way or another?
        The weight of society is greater than its benefit to far too many, and that is approaching a dangerous point.

      • Stop whining. It is your choice. Nobody force you to take the loan. I took student loan, worked part time as janitor, strawberry picker, bus boy, dog walking … during my college year ….

        • People keep posting ” back in the 60’s or 70’s when I went to college”. Well, times have changed. I worked full time and attended college full time in the 80’s. My tuition and costs for four years came to 40K. My daughters attended college in the 2000/2010s. Their tuition alone is 40K a year. Are state colleges cheaper, yes. Can you get into them, not easily. The state schools are taking as many foreign or out of state students as they can to get the out of state rate that it leaves much less room for in state students. My kids got accepted to amazing colleges, but not instate schools. How can you get into RIT but not University of Maryland? There is something wrong with this system.

      • This is what is wrong with America. We think things like college and education are privileges, when in fact they should be rights. Aren’t we better off with a nation full of college educated graduates as opposed to a selective few who can afford. And you guys wonder why 1) everything is made in China and 2) we are in the low 20s in every education category compared to the rest of the world.

        And I did everything right graduated High school with a 3.9 got a 10k a year scholarship majored in engineering AND STILL HAVE STUDENT DEBT from a state university. After my 1st year the college increases tuition 5k a year. So instead of paying around 7k a year (which i managed) that jumped to 15k a year. Then the recession hit, my parents small business closed and the help was gone. Just because people are in debt doesn’t mean they didn’t work hard, or their lazy. Some people’s parents just aren’t rich.

        And EDUCATION SHOULD BE A RIGHT. If not don’t be mad when this country is run by idiots.

        • I think I found your problem. You have an engineering degree but you mentioned that the college tuition started at 7K, then there was a tuition increase of 5K and you came up with a total of 15K? Scary.

      • Education may not be a right but it should be. One of the first things our immigrants did was build a college. A college education is a very different experience from high school. It is more than a way to get a job, it is a way of looking at our world and becoming a better participant. A college degree is probably least necessary for success to the student who can afford it. It is the student who comes from family that cannot afford it that it is one of the few ways to create credibility in society. There is much in history that is not talked about and in many circles not known about. I happened onto a book about how the men who fought in WWII came home to jobs where the employers did not want to pay a living wage. They struck. These were men who had come home as heroes. Not only that but they were used to killing people and were in no mood to take shit off of some employer who wouldn’t pay them a living wage from a country they had watched friends die or be maimed. The government decided to make it possible for whoever wanted to go to college with the GI bill. This ushered in a time of prosperity with an educated populace and created the middle class as we imagine it. Education matters. Not just to make a living economically
        but to be a better person.

    • Amen sister! Its the rich who are defaulting on a broad scope yet we, the poor slobs making $12hr with a BA that are forced to repay quicker and with more gusto.
      I dreamed of paying for my kids college education, all 3, with my salary as a psychologist. Instead I am still surviving barely with my BA and NOT even able to make rent in CA….young ppl need to be savy if not rich….grants scholarships and many jobs will help pay tuition..look into all this as a soph in HS..plan the education road and what field u will be in.Not everyone wants a degree just for where the $$ is the best. Some want to help the world and still get paid

  20. I’m a lot confused. My son’s children have went to college. Two are nurses one is a graphic designer the last works as an adjuster for an insurance company and he did graduate as a constructional engineer. The last one is living at home and has two and a half more years in college. Two of the girls moved out after one year in college. They had to support themselves as far as their personal life and they had roommates to split the cost. Lot of ramien noodles but they were determined not to take out loans. They bought their textbooks cheaper by buying used ones, they didn’t buy a lot of clothes. I believe they earned extra money by participating in contest speeches. The two nurses had participated in pink stripper program at the hospital as volunteers and I believe they received a 1,000 gift toward their college and That was when they were in highschool. They started out with A+ program coming out of high school. They worked at minimum pay jobs all the way through. I know people who have tremendous college debt and it just boggles my mind. I’m sure on four of the children tuition was paid on some classes by parents. However they do not have a debt and have stepped into great paying jobs. Whats the difference between them and the ones who have debt?

    • The difference is intestional fortatude…guts!
      We r convinced by “experts” to take the loans with no talk of consequences or huge debt responsibility…tell the kids they have choices…its harder toNOT take the loans, but so worth it. My grandson is paying for his way by work study…2 jobs..and many scholarships. He has NO loans and is even going to college overseas for 2 semesters.
      It can be done and should be. NO MORE LOANS!

    • AWESOME, if I’m sick I sign me into a hospital with a ‘Pink Stripper’ program 🙂 Seriously however – My wife (an attorney) is buried in 250K in student loans after graduating in 2009 with all the compound interest and having to take a job with legal aid making 36K a year. Not griping about 36K a year, more than many make, but to service a huge loan, its not viable. We have found creative ways to manage the debt, she has now started a non profit to employ herself, we file separate taxes to keep her payments low as possible. Some guilt about not being able to repay her full debt, but without going into big law (VERY hard to find those jobs at this point), and the glut of attorneys chasing the same clients, the revenue streams have evaporated that could support repayment at the level required to service that debt in 20 years.

    • Used books are a thing of the past. Without the access codes to submit work online, a used book is useless. This is what we must pay for, not the privilege of shiny books. Living on ramen is brilliant if you’re a single, young adult with no other responsibilities but you can’t exactly live on nothing when you’re responsible for the well being of innocent children. Trying to become educated and “earn” a living is more commendable than collecting welfare. This should be reflected. Also, if your resumes look like a lot of these postings, it is going to be difficult to get hired, especially for a job that requires education.

  21. Everything is out of control. People who garner degrees where no jobs can be found. Others who are waiting for a good job, get masters thinking that this will fix things and it doesn’t. Colleges are increasing their tuition 5-10% a year because of their cafeteria mentality. Marketing is taking a huge bite out of College profits. Courses and classes are canceled because money is tight, so degrees go unfulfilled. Other industrialized countries are ensuring the anyone who works at it can get a free bachelors degree, while this country struggles to get just an associates and pays dearly for it. Clearly something will give and its the future. As the rich hoard, corporations get bigger, the middle class has less and spends less. What goes up, must come down. Be ready for the big one, history says its just around the corner. When you stop sharing the wealth, there is no wealth, remember, it’s all just paper.

    • Can u say that one more time and slower for all those Republicans who are preoccupied counting their money and thinking about who they will swindle next!
      Obama is trying that approach but the rich are spoiled 5yr olds who won’t share their swing. The rich are in for a rude awakening soon. Love of money the root of all evil!

  22. Why is it so expensive to attend college in this country? It is really absurd how much debt people are in because of student loans. Student loan debt is helping to pad the U.S. economy. A crash to the system would seem possible, just like the housing market one day.

  23. All this makes no sense. You are basically tied down and burdened before you have even gotten a chance to establish a true life. Unfortunately many young people are going to fall into this system with no knowledge of how to get out of it.

  24. Debt of any kind puts off our ability to build investments and save for our kids education. I am sorry if any of you have student loan debt. In Arizona, you can attend Yavapai Community College for $10000 a year. That includes room, board, and tuition. And that is for students from states with reciprocal arrangements with Arizona. I highly recommend Yavapai in Prescott, Arizona. My nephew attends there. He is an Eagle Scout and was accepted to prestigious universities. Student loans unfortunately, are not prestigious.

  25. My daughter says that six years after graduating with a masters degree in math education and working as a teacher she owes $90,000. How can she possibly pay this off and enjoy the fruits of her labor? She makes $43,000 a year and is always broke. I’ve helped her as much as I can, but this help is from my retirement. Recently, she tried to obtain a lower monthly payment and the Dept of Ed. increased the payment amount.
    I’ve not seen any excessive living habits. Her car is ten years old and in disrepair, she never takes a vacation, works extra jobs, and generally lives frugally.
    Given all the talk about our country needing women to study math and the need for math teachers, it looks like that talk played a cruel trick on my daughter, for one.

    • Welcome to the real world of middle class white married America. I Have six kids all out of school now, 4 doctors 1 teacher an one cameraman in Hollywood. 3 doctors living at home because they can’t aford rent after there loan payments, and Ohbamles health care salieries. My kids were top in there class thru high school an collage an could never get a dime an would come home at time very upset because they were the only ones in there class that had to pay for school the rest were foringers or from broken families – PA’s make more then most doctors now. If you want a masters or higher you become a slave to the banks, that is why now your soc sert can be garnished to pay you student loans.

      • I beg to differ with your terminology of “middle class white married America”. This is the real world for all “middle class” Americans. I am single (widowed). I am out of school eight years. I am a civil servant. I make less than a teacher. My monthly payments are based on my gross salary. I live in a small house, drive an eleven year old car, drive an hour to work five days a week and never have enough money to make ends cross. I am an American of former slave heritage. The loan forgiveness program is not automatic. You must meet certain requirements beyond being a public servant.

      • “middle class white married America” With this kind of ignorance you and your family are exactly where you need to be in life. Three medical doctors still living at home, do not blame anyone but yourselves. I f they are still living at home your family is nothing but dysfunctional.

      • Trust me it’s not just the real world of the white middle class. I can honestly say that I am stuck between a rock and a hard place because of student loan “payments” yes I am paying my student loans back. You would be amazed at the amount that I am paying back. I have two jobs and before the ink dries on my paycheck student loan gets their portion. They don’t care if I can’t pay lights, water, gas, grocery, insurance, etc etc. I would love to get my Masters and my company would pay for it but during our most recent layoff guess who got laid off first, the people with the Masters degree that the company paid for. By the way my husband and I have six young adults and not one of them lives with us. We taught them how to live within their means so that they wouldn’t have to live within our walls. I don’t worry about SS because the closer I get to retirement the further they move it out. Hopefully I’ll be done paying before I’m 100 which will probably the retirement age by then….lol lol

    • Edward, I hear your pain and would like to provide some potential relief. If you daughter is a teacher, she would likely benefit from the federal government’s Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. PSLF is intended to encourage people to work full-time in public service jobs, like public education. Under this program, student loan borrowers may qualify for forgiveness of the remaining balance of their Direct Loans after they have made 120 qualifying payments on those loans while working full-time in certain public service jobs. Your daughter may also be able to get on the Income-based repayment plan, which calculates loan payments based on income, family size and total federal student loan debt. Visit http://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/charts/public-service#what-kinds-of-employment for more details 🙂

    • I am a lawyer making $36,000 a year (before taxes). My student loan payment is 56 percent of my take-home pay. I work in private practice, so I do not qualify for any type of loan forgiveness. I could qualify for a drastic reduction in my monthly required amount payment, but the problem is that these loans need to be paid off as quickly as possible so they don’t accumulate more interest. The market is saturated with professionals who did not want to go straight into the “real world” when the job market was so bad, so professionals in certain markets are getting a poor deal because there are are so many others without work who are just as willing to accept that poor deal.

    • Working as a teacher, your daughter will be able to write off her loans after a certain period of time if she remains current on her loans. She should look into this option.

    • There are Federal Programs out there that will forgive a student loan for a teacher (after paying on it for 10 years) if you teach in low income school. She should be able to change her loan to pay it based on her income (if it is a Federal Loan). All that information is online, just research. Your daughter could also go to the financial aid office of the school she graduated from and ask for their help/find more information.

    • She could pay 1000 a month for 90 months.

      Ninety months is 7.5 years.

      Or 500 a month for 14 years.

      When her IRS refund comes back, she can put it on the loan.
      For 7.5 years, assuming she has a take home pay of 3000 she can actually try to live of 2000 per month. Perhaps you can offer her a room back at home for a year and allow her to pay off 2000 a month. So that is 24K gone.
      Even with 2500 take home she could live on 1500.

      I have found that ‘frugal’ in America means way way different things than ‘frugal’ where I live. In the US if all you have is 20 pairs of shoes, you are ‘frugal” In my space, 2 work shoes, 2 sneakers, 1 pr sandals and 1 dress up shoe is ‘comfortable” Frugal is one of each. Same for clothes, lunches at restaurants, etc. Just have her STOP buying things. It is better for her to get a new car than one that is breaking down all the time..I know about those.

      She needs to put in place a serious austerity plan and stick to it. Also, can she not try other things like teaching online? There are hundreds of thousands of people who want to learn to speak English. She can use SKYPE and conduct classes just by advertising herself. SHE can also teach MATH that way. Collect a few dollars an hour and put those dollars toward the loan.

  26. Why is it that we only hear about teacher forgiveness loans who teach in inpoverished neighborhoods? What about other vocations?

    • The federal government’s Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program is intended to encourage people to work full-time in public service jobs – not just in impoverished neighborhoods. Under this program, student loan borrowers may qualify for forgiveness of the remaining balance of their Direct Loans after they have made 120 qualifying payments on those loans while working full-time in certain public service jobs. More info can be found at http://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/charts/public-service#what-kinds-of-employment 🙂

      • just so we’re clear–120 “qualifying” payments is TEN YEARS of paying on-time, EVERY month, WHILE working FULL-time, in CERTAIN public service jobs. So, at LEAST ten years of interest, and all while assuming that everyone will start working full-time right away. Because we’ve seen how well people who WANT to work are being ACCEPTED to work (especially in their chosen field) just because they applied.

  27. I think that we should completely do away with Pell grants (and other similar grants). Then, for anyone who wants to attend college or a trade school (public, private or religious, etc.) and maintains a good academic record, should have access to interest free student loans. It isn’t right that the government gives free rides to some while others finish college buried in a mountain debt.

    • Excuse you, but if it weren’t for the Pell Grant, I’d be drowning even more in debt than I already am! I come from and extremely poor family and the Pell Grant only accounts for about $2,000 of my total $32,000 and climbing cost of attendance!! The rest is covered by my THREE federal loans. Think before you speak. Just because the Pell Grant exists doesn’t mean students are getting a “free ride.” I know I sure as hell am not. I’m going to be paying off these loans until the day I die because, even with my college education, I’m not necessarily going to get a super well paying job. I’d have to get famous in my line of study to do so and that is by no means my goal. My family and I have had to work our asses off just to get to where we are now, even with government assistance, which, by the way, isn’t all it’s cracked up to be either, and we’re still struggling just to stay afloat. If you don’t know what you’re talking about, please, hold your tongue.

      • Yes Sabrina! You are absolutely correct! I understand exactly where you are coming from! I don’t know why people just assume a grant gives you a free ride. Ignorance, I suppose!

      • Absolutely right, Sabrina! Government “assistance” to the poor is designed to keep poor people poor. I’m “laughing” at all these woe-is-me-I’m-middle-class-and-don’t-qualify-for-aid. They obviously don’t know the difference between NEED-based aid versus MERIT-based aid, let alone the many variations of grants, scholarships, and loans. They don’t qualify for NEED-based GRANTS because they were only set up to try and level the playing field so that smart, hard-working, kids in POVERTY could have the OPPORTUNITY to get into good-paying careers that would help keep them from being another generation on welfare. Not all grants and scholarships are Federally funded. My son has likewise struggled, DESPITE his Pell Grants and many other scholarships, working, and cutting costs every which way he can, and I have not been able to help him in any way, financially. He will STILL have to pay Federal AND private student loans. As you say, definitely NOT a “free-ride” just because you were so poor that you QUALIFIED for NEED-based aid.

    • Kate,
      I fully agree with you that they should get rid of the PELL grants or look at providing these grants to individuals who actually deserve it and not those individuals who can’t afford to go to school and wish not work in the profession they are educating themselves in. I work within financial aid and I know a lot of students don’t file and work the year prior to them coming to school so that they can receive a full PELL grant as well as receive unemployment and housing assistance, because if they have no money they are provided it. Then when it is time for the government to pay the loans and the PELL grants to the school the students are receiving large checks because they have max. the amount they can receive and no one it limiting them. It drives me crazy, because I work a full time job as well putting myself through college but don’t receive any assistance to go to college since I am applying myself.

      • sabrina…I have no idea what the heck these ppl are talking about?! Pell only pays a small tidbit and its great for 2yr colleges. I had grants, scholarships and still needed loans just to get through my first 2yrs of a 4yr college. Grad school is insane..its about $100,000 altogether to complete and I still need to work and support my 2 kids..one whom is disabled. No extra help there…and did I mention I am a disabled parent/student as well? We must realize we need education to compete with China..Japan…and other nations yet we are making it nearly impossible to be a nation of these educated ones we need. Only the wealthy in society can profit and its always been like this since civilized society began…the wealth rules the country and the poor and middle class just go along and say yes mame and yes sir!

    • I get a 2300.00 pell grant every semester. I am low income. I make the DEAN’S LIST every semester! And I will still graduate with a mountain of debt! What makes you better than the people who get grants? I work full time, support my daughter and grandson and go to school full time. And yet, somehow you think you are better than me? Grow UP!

  28. And, watch all of the fine print with any offers to reduce or eliminate your payments. I thought I qualified for a $5000 reduction in my school loans because I went into teaching at a Title I school. I sent in all of the paperwork, but was rejected because I consolidated some of my loans. When I tried to talk to the folks who rejected me, I was told that they “just follow the rules.” It makes no sense that after 17 years teaching in public education, I wouldn’t qualify.

    • In cases of loan forgiveness, the people who process requests aren’t just following “rules,” they’re following the LAW since Congress determines what can and can’t be done.

      I don’t think your rejection had anything to do with your consolidation. Check out https://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/charts/teacher. You mentioned 17 years of teaching, which likely means you “had an outstanding balance on Direct Loans or Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program loans as of Oct. 1, 1998.” That right there would be the thing that made you ineligible for this program.

      • If Jack was trying to get loan forgiveness for federal Perkins loans, then the consolidation would have made him ineligible for that type of forgiveness. MXC does have a point, though, as Jack might still qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). The federal government’s Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program is intended to encourage people to work full-time in public service jobs. Under this program, student loan borrowers may qualify for forgiveness of the remaining balance of their Direct Loans after they have made 120 qualifying payments on those loans while working full-time in certain public service jobs – such as public education. More info can be found at http://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/charts/public-service#what-kinds-of-employment 🙂

  29. We need to have better funding options for higher education in this country, options like those available to high achieving students in Europe. My school’s proposal for an American Matura, a certificate guaranteeing qualified students admission to public universities and funding for three-year bachelor’s degrees to be subsidized at either public or private colleges, fits the bill precisely. Countries that have similar systems automatically give their students incentives to study hard, and also tend to be more successful at maintaining educational standards, since governments are generally more loathe to give away commitments to pay than they are to give away high-sounding, generally worthless papers like the American high school “diploma”.

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